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Old 02-16-2020, 08:36 AM   #1
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Leaving it all behind, for a time.

What does everybody do about their home and other operations they are leaving behind for an extended trip, say 4 weeks, or longer, I am sure people do this all the time, I would just like some input, we have been gone for two weeks in the past with no issues. Thanks
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Old 02-16-2020, 08:51 AM   #2
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We have a young person in the neighborhood pick up our mail for us and they keep an eye out for any unusual happenings. They also pick up any of those pesky flyers thrown in the driveway or hung on the mailbox or front door. Be sure to have the grass mowed if needed. We turn off the water to the house, turn off the water heater. We turn off our home computer. Remove any perishable foods. Take out the trash. Water the plants. We have lights on timers. Pay any bills in advance or use autopay of some type. Most of that is obvious but just my $0.02.

Lots of people use cameras and more elaborate security systems but a good neighbor is invaluable.
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Old 02-16-2020, 08:59 AM   #3
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What Lucius said, tho my person is my son.

The guy leading the crew that mows my yard, also neighbors, have my sons name and phone number should they notice anything amiss while I am gone.

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Old 02-16-2020, 09:42 AM   #4
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We go for 3 months at a time in both summer and winter. Lawn service. Our son stays in house for a night every couple of weeks. Water turned off. Water heater turned off. I worry but have not had a problem. Except for when a tree fell on the power line coming to the house. Fortunately my son was around to get it hooked back up. Neighbors know our schedule. We seem to be in a good area.
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Old 02-16-2020, 09:45 AM   #5
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We are usually gone from home in the Airstream for two to three months at a time. We have been doing this for the last fourteen years. All of our important mail comes electronically, and we have a neighbor that checks on things. We live three houses off of the ocean and frequently have friends and relatives that come and use the house while we are away.

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Old 02-16-2020, 09:58 AM   #6
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TURN OFF THE WATER AT THE STREET!!!!!

Learned the hard way. Extended freeze while we were in FL with our rig. $60K damage to our home’s 1st floor. Burst pipe. Had heat on, but closet doors closed. Foolish in retrospect.

Had to have another on/off valve installed at street so that the sprinklers would still operate when service to house was off.
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Old 02-16-2020, 11:42 PM   #7
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leaving it all behind, for a time.

When we lived in Northern Alabama, we ran a separate meter and supply line for all outside hose connections and sprinkler system. In the winter, we shut off the water at the second meter, and opened a drain valve in the meter box. We then went up the hill to the house and opened all the hose bibs and you could hear all the air being sucked in as all the piping drained dry.

The only problem we ever had was the plumber we hired to plumb the house did not listen when I told him to pitch all the cold water lines down toward the entry point. The first hard freeze we had broke a lot of copper. I fixed it right at that time.
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Old 02-17-2020, 05:27 AM   #8
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Blomb, great question - I'm so glad you asked!

I'm retiring in April and we plan to take longer trips. We've done the things posted so far but I'm considering a service like SimpliSafe

No long-term contracts but they do offer (if you want it) central monitoring and will dispatch police/fire if necessary. The Ring doorbell-type things are nice but you're on your own to call police if you notice a break-in.

I hate to add another monthly recurring cost in retirement but may justify it by cutting the cable TV cord. Why pay for it if you're not home?

Anyway, following this thread for more ideas from others!
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Old 02-17-2020, 08:09 AM   #9
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Most of the home monitoring systems require Internet access to operate. In our case, we get our Internet through the cable company. If we shut off our cable, we would not have Internet service.

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Old 02-17-2020, 08:16 AM   #10
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Brian, I should have qualified that statement -- cutting the cord would be cable TV service. We'd keep the Comcast Internet as we're using XFinity Mobile (reselling Verizon Wireless) and you need one "service" to maintain the discount. Our mobile phone bill averages $16 per month, you pay by the gig for data.

Plus, these security systems typically have some form of cellular backup in case the crooks cut your Internet cable.
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Old 02-17-2020, 12:16 PM   #11
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Very good topic as Iím sure everyone does something a little different. We have a well and live on a lake so some of these are specific to that. Here is our checklist;

1. About a week before a trip we start eating whatever veggies and other perishables we have in our refrigerator so that wonít go bad while away.
2. We stop our mail while away. The USPS will do this for a month. If away longer than a month we have our mail forwarded to our daughterís house.
3. I bungee cord all our deck furniture / grills etc to our deck railings so they wonít blow around or off our deck. Winds can pick up off the lake. In addition, high winds can still make it inshore and tropical force winds can occur during hurricane season. The first time I did this I thought it was overkill but there were 2 hurricanes that affected our area while we were away for 2 months.
4. Our trash is taken to the trash dump the day before we leave. We take the last trash bag from under the kitchen sink and put it in our outside garbage cans. This usually just contains trash from dinner the night before and breakfast. Trash cans are kept in the garage so they wonít attract animals or be blown over. A clean / scented trash bag is put in the kitchen trash can and this scent has our home smelling good when we return.
5. SimpliSafe alarm is activated a couple days before the trip so I can make sure it is working to contact us while out of town. As Jeff noted, the full service can be turned off when we return and just use the house alarm with no dispatch service. Full service is around $25/mos. Alarm only is around $15.
6. Turn off power to the garage door / water heater / well pump / boat lift. Shut of all ball cock water valves as well (this is 4 in my case which will shut off water to all spigots in the house). By turning off the well pump, this serves the same purpose as cutting off the water at the street mentioned by a city water customer.
7. Notify a neighbor across the street to pick up flyers / papers off the driveway and if case anything unusual is going on. I had a neighborís crazy daughter drive from Wilmington inland to Mooresville to escape a hurricane and park her car in the middle of my yard instead of parking in her Momís yard. Believe me, if anything crazy goes on it will happen while you are out of town.
8. I have a lawn service cut my grass while gone. He sends me a picture of the cut grass and then we cut a check through our bankís web site from the road.
9. We adjust our thermostat so heat and air donít kick on the same temps when we are home.
10. Landscape lights on a timer. Leave the front porch light on.
11. Unplug computers.
12. Close all curtains.
13. Put a little bit of chlorine in each toilet bowl and tile shower floor so they won't mold up while out of town.
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Old 02-17-2020, 12:49 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blomb View Post
What does everybody do about their home and other operations they are leaving behind for an extended trip, say 4 weeks, or longer, I am sure people do this all the time, I would just like some input, we have been gone for two weeks in the past with no issues. Thanks
Good replies so far.

As one simplistic broad brush suggestion, just plan to go away for longer periods, and make more extensive preparations for mail, home security and so forth. Trust yourself and your neighbors, business associates and relatives.

Crawl before walk . . . before run . . . . . .

FYI there is a Full-Timing forum which has many threads touching on this:

https://www.airforums.com/forums/f314/

Good luck,

Peter
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Old 02-17-2020, 04:31 PM   #13
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Thanks for all the info, it seems so easy to just leave, but we know that is not the case.
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Old 02-26-2020, 09:43 AM   #14
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We have homes in WA and AZ and spend +/- 6 months in each the past 33 years. We leave the thermostat at 50 degrees during the winter, turn the water off and go. The AZ house about the same except we leave the irrigation water on and turn the AC off. We did pretty much the same when we were snowbirding in RVs. People often ask “do you have someone watch your house?” Nope, if you’re gonna worry about it don’t go. Relax and enjoy.
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Old 02-26-2020, 10:19 AM   #15
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If you go in the winter, after shutting of the water and draining the system, my plumber friend suggested getting as much water as you can out of any p-traps including toilets, shower and every sink. Then put in a couple cups of RV antifreeze just like you would winterize your trailer. That way if worst comes to worst and your heating system doesn't work your plumbing will survive.
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Old 02-26-2020, 11:38 AM   #16
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You should check your home insurance policy carefully.

Many require someone to actually go in and check the house when you are away. Time required varies between companies but some require it as frequently as ever 4 days.
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Old 02-26-2020, 01:14 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Northerngirl View Post
You should check your home insurance policy carefully.

Many require someone to actually go in and check the house when you are away. Time required varies between companies but some require it as frequently as ever 4 days.
We have a person come every morning to feed pets. She shuts the water off at the house coming and going.

Our neighbor is gone for extended periods. Their gardener alerted me to water trickling out of the front door. The fridge ice maker popped a supply line and flooded the downstairs for possible 2-3 weeks. It took four months to mitigate the water damage and mold throughout the entire house.

Fridge ice maker supply lines are notorious for breaking and flooding homes.
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Old 02-26-2020, 01:31 PM   #18
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We leave the winter behind - when gone we have a lawn service that takes care of snow removal (house has a lived in look) and grass cutting if necessary, depends how long weíre gone. Mail is forwarded to a mail service, water is turned OFF, thermostat is programmable & can be monitored & controlled via the internet. House, driveway, & yard is monitored with a Ring Doorbell, & numerous Blink Cameras. Landscape lighting & several indoor lamps are on programmable timers that adjust to the seasons. A friend has a key to our house if something doesnít look normal & needs to be checked. And, lastly neighbors & local law enforcement are aware that weíre gone & know how to contact us. So far this has worked well for us. We left our PA residence this past August & wonít be home until April, we love the desert Southwest this time of the year.
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Old 02-26-2020, 01:48 PM   #19
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Most of the home monitoring systems require Internet access to operate. In our case, we get our Internet through the cable company. If we shut off our cable, we would not have Internet service.

Brian
We've had Time Warner, now Spectrum. When we had cable TV and house phone we learned that they will turn those off and bill you only for the ISP. That way I could still see the security cameras. What they didn't tell me was that any discounts I had for cable were removed. When we returned I had to negotiate a new bundle at a higher price than before I left. So I put an antenna in the attic and bought a Tivo DVR with lifetime channel guide. With the streaming channels we don't miss a thing and save $100 a month, which paid for the Tivo in 4 months. That was nearly 2 years ago. I think I'm ahead.

Check with your cable company and ask about turning off everything except the ISP. I'll bet they do it, just beware that you'll have to negotiate the cable discounts when you return.
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Old 02-26-2020, 02:22 PM   #20
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Here's some of our tips for extended travels. I suggest you make a list of all the things you want to do long before you leave. Keep updating and start to implement a week before you leave.

Flight plan - Let friends/relative know what your plans are and keep in touch during your trip. Don't post vacation pictures on social media until you return.

Make good friends with a neighbor. Our next door neighbor travels a lot on weekends but rarely stays longer than a few days. She's thrilled to have us next door to bring in her garbage cans, let in repairmen and keep an eye on her place in exchange for watching ours on extended trips.

Set up some cameras so you can remotely monitor. I have one in the kitchen and I put a big thermometer on the counter. I use the camera for security and I can also see the temperature in the house. I have cameras on the front and I can see if it has snowed and if someone has come up the walkway. I email my neighbor to check for flyers left on the porch and make sure the door hasn't been breached. I ask that she drive up our driveway to leave tracks in the snow. (We have an extra car in the driveway so it looks like someone is home. I park an extra car in my neighbor's driveway when she's gone.)

Use a lot of timers on lights in rooms where you spend a lot of time. Start using them a couple of weeks before you leave. Set the times to match your normal movement. If you stay downstairs until bedtime then go upstairs to get ready for bed and then sleep, just set the timer to turn on the bedroom lights for your usual bedtime routine, not all night long.

The UPS Store has mailboxes that have a real street address. You can forward your mail from USPS to a UPS mailbox for up to a year. The UPS Store will tell you (call or email them) what's in your mailbox and will forward it to you in a bundle or single piece, wherever you happen to be. We have it forwarded to the campground but have also used local post offices. Local post offices service can be sketchy. Took them 2 days to find our mail one time.

Set up all your bills with a registered account online, then pay with eCheck, normally a free service. I have a small printer that I take in case I need to print off something and sign it, then mail (or scan) it back.

Notify your credit card companies where you're going and when you'll be back. I've had my card declined because the company thought someone had my card.

Put plastic wrap over the toilet bowls to retard water evaporation. If all the water evaporates sewer gas can get into the house. After 3 months all 3 of our toilets were nearly dry. Winter is worse because of the low humidity.

If your water heater still has a pilot light, just turn the knob to Pilot. The pilot flame drives off moisture and won't let the thermocouple corrode.

We turn off the water at the main water valve, not the street. I do turn off the water taps on the washing machine because of the rubber hoses. We have underground utilities and in 24 years we've rarely lost power. Worst was about 10 hours and it was summer. Again, good neighbor to call on if necessary.
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